Gerry O'Beirne

Western Highway

I am a driver on a western highway From the mountains to the sea And there’s a song on the western highway That’s saying I will be free The sky is fading to the colour of the valley Dust of angels and dust of dreams Your city lights will shine until tomorrow And I will not be here But your light is brighter than anything I’ve ever seen And I hear your voice on every station Singing out of your dream Here I am on the road again The song began and in the end I was standing by I was standing by the sea And by the roadside the trees are shimmering Black and silver in the cold night air And under the moon a new song singing Saying I will meet you there And your light is brighter than anything I’ve ever seen And I hear your voice on every station Singing out of your dream Here I am on the road again The song began and in the end I was standing by I was standing by the sea

The Holy Ground

About a man who goes to Mexico from Ireland and gets involved in the War of Independence there. It always feels like a very personal song despite the historical context. I played the "elephant" guitar on this one, and a 12 string guitar solo midway through the song. I was delighted to have Davie Paton playing bass. Davie used to be the bass player/singer/writer with the pop band Pilot. I remember seeing them on "Top Of The Pops" many years ago. He's a great player and a great guy. It's been recorded by Andy Irvine and Mary Black among others. I was born on the holy ground a running boy in fields of clover living in the grandeur of my father's land By the side of the swirling sea I spent the days of childish wonder and the rocks i held in my young hands I never felt them slip away Well the sun shone bright upon the waves and the wind blew high as i was leaving and i sailed so far away looking for adventure But i would not stay where the city streets proclaimed so loudly man's endeavour though music is a pretty thing in fine company And the wilderness took my breath away under a sun that never falters A man has to find his way where no-one ever goes It was in the south where my new home lay with a dark eyed girl and wild horses with hummingbirds and roses there in old Mexico There the winds of change they blew so far of liberty and revolution and it seemed that each man heard in his breast the drumming of a nation Oh on the field where the guns did play i fell there with many another where the sage brush grows and the desert wind is blowing free I was born on the holy ground a running boy in fields of clover living in the grandeur of my fathers land

The Shades Of Gloria

I am going to the country going down that verdant lane with nothing but a whistle in my hand and a pocket full of rain can you hear that distant sound coming down the West Clare Railway running with the shades of gloria The wind is full of memories that murmur and sigh hills lie in the foaming grass of Clare under the cold moon's eye but you should come and see them now when they are on fire and running with the shades of gloria And the waves roll at the headland when the tide is rising there and here there is stardust falling down on the hills of Clare I knew them when I was hungry and I knew them when I scared and running with the shades of gloria And I am going to the country where Miko in his prime weaves a thread of melody in his own sweet time you can hear him sing and whistle any time you care to go running with the shades of gloria I am going to the country going down that verdant lane with nothing but a whistle in my hand and a pocket full of rain can you hear that distant sound coming down the West Clare Railway running with the shades of gloria

Half Moon Bay

The first time I saw you Down by the blue ocean You were talking like a fighter Independently And hanging on to a dream That's what I remember But the wildness in you I can't explain And one day on the street Comes a beautiful stranger From such a casual thing A great change has come And if he could have loved you more Still there'd be no reason To go down that road where love's in vain Now I think I know your heart When love carried you away I heard you returned to Half Moon Bay To half Moon Bay And it's a cold cold night You can almost hear the sea wind blow As though on a radio A lonesome sound And he wonders where you are tonight And what are you thinking You're lost when he repeats your name And you turn on the headlights As the raging moon rises You go deeper and deeper In the familiar dark And as the fog is creeping in Down in the valley You're high on a hill You're still going home And now i think I know your heart when love carried you away I heard you returned To Half Moon Bay To Half Moon Bay To Half Moon Bay

Where Foxglove

Where foxglove and the fuchsia grows fuchsia grows

And tumbles down to the sea

We looked into a midnight well

Reflected there imperfectly

 

The rhapsody of traffic swells traffic swells

The northside echoes with history

The rush hour crowds and old church bells

The flickering of a cinema screen

 

And what did you see in the midnight well midnight well

Were you only in a garden in the rain

What symphonies in Dublin town

In the rackety swaying of an evening train

 

And who will you love even so even so

When the crowds have faded by and by

Will all the birds be singing out

When morning breaks upon our eyes

The Old Coastal

There are moments that come so easily to mind

Like a first kiss of wind

And they tear away with you for ever

 

We're deep south and the day begins

With sunlight on bare skin

That shrouds the ways of your dreaming

 

All i really wanted to do

Was play the vagabond blues with you wherever you came from

Down at the crossroads we're all the same

Maybe we'll never find our way home

Oh I would tear away with you for ever

 

The famous gambles have all gone south

It's just another tall tale

From an old coastal rambler

Who tramps the winding river mouth

Boats washed up and creaking

As one by one clouds cross over

 

God's country and the devil's hand

I know them both well and

Isn't it a shame

That god and devil are the same

They take your time

Tear away all the your treasure

 

There are moments that come so easily to mind

Like a first kiss of wind

And they tear away with you for ever

 

The stars go out and the day begins

It's a good day to ramble on

Oh I would tear away with you for ever

 

All Down The Day

We got away from our terrible town

And happily crossed the water

All down the day

Down London way

 

Singing in a dingy room

And working in the morning

All down the day

Down London way

 

You were funny and you were free

You were my inspiration

All down the day

Down London way

 

With saveloy and cider can

The life of rainy day heroes

All down the day

Down London way

 

And then you went and you wandered home

When summertime was over  

All down the day

Down London way

 

Down and out in London town

The black dog following after

All down the day

Down London way

 

Those rainy days were an old sweet song

That I know but I can’t remember

All down the day

Down London way

 

The Last King Of Feothanach

The Last King Of Feothanach

For Alec Granville

 

Oh the Last King of Feothanach was wandering by my window

Head bent forward all along the windy quay

All my troubles evaporated when I heard the music

A moment of music with the sisters of the sea

And he, he was singing all alone in the whistling breeze

 

There's a hole in the heavens that the clouds made when they parted 

A patch of the ocean only he can plainly see

When he closes his eyes he can hear his own true lover

A moment of music then she's gone so suddenly

And he, he is singing all alone in the whistling breeze

 

Try to catch the feeling the momentum of the moment

A moment of music oh say who could it be

He would ordinarily have liked to hear the blackbird

But the song of the raven won him over eventually

And he, he was singing all alone in the whistling breeze

 

There'll be flowers on the water when the last king leaves forever

In a moment of music we'll be waving from the quay

While the blackbird and the raven watch together

The last king of Feothanach will sail away to sea

And he, he'll be singing all alone in the whistling breeze

 

 

Black Water

wheels rushing in the pouring rain

as your thoughts turn their pages

you're on your way in the darkness

oh my love

And there's no going back

and there's no going back

for the prodigal daughter

oh out of black water

 

and the river runs with the first falling fall of your hair

how cold it flows with all of the fallen leaves and waving grass

our hearts fall too when we think of it but you're still here

this is why we sing, sing the songs of ages

they pulled you up to be born again

oh out of black water

 

and you're alone in the back

when you wake to the rain on the roof

and then everything changes

oh my love

 

new sun new moon new sun new shivery moon with its new shadow

you walk the road the crusty road barefoot over the hill

unafraid to the open door wearing your river things

 

sing of the river child

sing of the river lover

in a fine dress of leaves and grass

oh lady black water

1874

Beautiful light beautiful glow down in the city whoa music is high music is low she stepped so lightly on the floor Day come by day go it's 1874 and time is running like a river yellow an old moon rose her colours dry in my room at night the sun has warmed her in the garden she talks and talks as the band stands by she will dance till the pale winter morning day come by day go it's 1874 and time is running like a river yellow an old moon rose garden of fire sea of delight is a day in the countryside she's moving her eyes out of the canvas sky and running away from paradise day come by day go it's 1874 and time is running like a river yellow an old moon rose

_

Song of an Actor

The ghost of a theatre light

A tangled ribbon of moon

Still shining in an empty room

This is my only alibi

 

Did I stay too long at the fair

An old man turned to say

In the shadows by the bay

That rough magic calling in the air

 

Don't ever go away

I'll be lonely as the turning sun

Until the lights come up on everyone

 

The lights go down

And I go on

On my own

Feather and Bone

And I need you now

To Give me your voice

So we can go on dreaming

 

When the world was younger

There was no song we couldn't sing

in the music of everything

Fandango and flambeau

 

So goodbye my old sweethearts

Bells are ringing in the city below

We will walk into the wings

Soft as rain on winter snow

 

Don't ever go away

I'll be lonely as the turning sun

Until the lights come up

On everyone

Long Beating Wing

Well here I am today In a kind of lost tomorrow I've got no inspiration in this town I was trying to watch the screen For any sign of movement Or to let someone know if it went down And to listen for your long beating wing I'm not thinking about a train Or any way of leaving As I write down these few simple lines Our conversation fell so short of being revealing But your night cry said everything And the rhythm of your long beating wing You came down from the sky When i was dreaming And you danced boldly around the room You changed all my music with your drums and desire Now all I hear sound and boom Is the Rhythm of your long beating wing

The Lights of San Francisco

The Lights of San Francisco Shone on the city floor Joe worked on in the city Till the dawn came around once more He came from Galway Came over recently And Lucy from the USA Smiled at his naivetee In the rocky places of his heart No-one had ever seen Lucy picking cockles And Lucy planting seeds Came the marching bands of July And their silver shadows flew Oh two by two red and blue Drifting through the summer evening He said “ All my troubles Never wander very far I like to hear music But I like it on a blue guitar And there is no end to the money A guy wants to hold in his hand The sky hung with airplanes And no peace upon the land And the folks on television That lie with every breath And insult you with visions Of cheap life and cheaper death And there is no home for me now But I’ll go on loving you Until there is no more music And the guitar is no longer blue”.

Sekou Camara

Sekou Camara is a man from the Guinea shore in 1996 he was jailed with torture and terror a prisoner where torture is routine Now justice has spoken and is sending him home today saying it's a comparatively mild regime he was freed by bribery and false papers and he came to Ireland a refugee If he has a past and no tomorrow what good are we at all good at all From a political party so he was tortured and his parents were too he was entitled to stay here and avoid persecution He came to Ireland a refugee

In The Land Of The Patagarang

In the land of the patagarang the murkies are dreaming in the land of the patagarang they don't know who you are in the land of the patagarang the murkies are dreaming in the land of the patagarang as we sail into the bay I'm going with my peculiar to a place of infinite space with the mollies and punks and fluters, buzz gloaks and starglazers they'll turn you into a creature if you're not strong a man with marsupial features on the horizon for impersonating an Egyptian you to the land to the land of the patagarang patagarang patagarang patagarang In the land of the patagarang the crow flies backwards in the land of the patagarang the stars are upside down god-botherers pray repentance, politicals and yobs goodbye to independence, welcome to the mob They'll turn you into a creature if you're not strong a man with marsupial features on the horizon for impersonating an Egyptian you go to the land to the land of the patagarang patagarang patagarang patagarang Di dippy do dippy dippy do do di dippy do dippy dippy day di dippy do dippy dippy di do di dippy do dippy dippy day I'm going with my peculiar to a place of infinite space with the mollies and punks and fluters, buzz gloaks and starglazers They'll turn you into a creature if you're not strong a man with marsupial features on the horizon for impersonating an Egyptian you go to the land to the land of the patagarang patagarang patagarang patagarang In the land of the patagarang the murkies are dreaming in the land of the patagarang the stars are upside down patagarang patagarang patagarang patagarang

The Burning Ground of Glenrowan

. I was moved to write this on reading the stirring Jerilderie Letters, but I also wanted it to be somewhat impressionistic, drawing on the flavour of Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly paintings and also using some of the imagery found in the paintings of Lin Onus, hence the "stingray" motif. Much is made of Ned's Irish background and inheritance but he was surely just as much a product of the unique energies of Australia. The song also gets its atmosphere from an unusual guitar tuning - BABEAE. Having said that I've recast it into normal tuning.  Dear sir I wish to acquaint you With occurrences present and past Once upon a time in Australia Oh Stingray A man in armour Rides today Down to the burning ground of Glenrowan Come what may Across the Murray water That flows away Far from the cruel dust of Glenrowan He comes with eyes of iron On a bright bay mare A red storm under Orion Oh Stingray A vengeful son of Erin Rides today Down to the burning ground of Glenrowan He cannot be saved under a new moon rising After the heat wave On the cruel bloody dust of Glenrowan You Irish farmers of Victoria And New South Wales Deep in your bones you know unfairness (instrumental) He comes shrouded in the morning With a gun through the mist and smoke The widow's son Mr. Edward Kelly Oh Stingray There is no surrender Though he falls anyway Down on the burning ground of glenrowan and thirsts like a flame For the Murray water That flows away Far from the cruel dust of Glenrowan

Silver Line Sarah

She walks a silver line sarah A silver line in the coldest winter Waiting for summer to come And she tears the night apart The night apart like a puzzle And there is no answer here So she writes upon the page Sarah Writes upon the page in the pale morning A song that nobody hears And she plays Shenandoah Plays Shenandoah on the piano All her chords tumbling down Sarah the world is calling you As it sails away Over the golden ocean To another day She walks a silver line Sarah A silver line in the coldest winter Waiting for summer to come

Darkness Now

We're living in the darkness now Oh no so far from the light we have known You and I never satisfied for long And we're playing in a game of chance Please darling just one more hand In my heart I know we can start again We'll catch a plane Me and you And turn our heads into the blue to the blue And we hunger for a better day Oh no if only the words that we say Could take us back take us back home We'll catch a plane Me and you And turn our heads into the blue To the blue

The Days of Joe O'Dowd

I came on the train from Dublin I had to get away And play some music with the man there On Ballisodare bay With the boys and girls from the art school Dancing so late into the night And their clothes in the western wind blowing They were an artistic sight Outside of Annie's kitchen The flames lit up the crowd We did the real midsummer madness Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd All his life he sold insurance A gentle salesman he In the cold cold garrison town The clumsiness of the bourgeoisie In the fifties and the sixties They didn't want to know But when the music came into fashion That was all right with Joe He was playing on the fiddle With the crazy concertina man And everybody was dancing, dancing And jumping jumping on the sand Oh I remember, the fire lit up the bay Midsummer night and day Oh and I remember While they slept in Sligo town he played I was far across the ocean When I heard that he was dead I was thinking about him lying down On his hospital bed And the boys and girls from the art school They all moved away But they miss the midsummer madness On Ballisodare bay It's quiet on the water And grey with cloud And in the houses you hear the music Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd Oh, didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd Didn't we in the days of Joe O'Dowd

Down in Galveston

The pavements cracked in Houston as the summer sun beat down The gulf winds blew across the coast as we drove into Galveston Down in Galveston moon shining in the night On sweet water where love shone like the rising moon upon the silver sand you reach out like a pilgrim and it runs right through your hand Down in Galveston your heart falls like the night On sweet water and are we here here by circumstance In these dry days of yearning I need you in the dead of night I need you in the morning Where are we going to go when all our travelling is done Hard as the gulf winds blow hot as the unforgiving sun Down in Galveston your heart falls like the night on sweet water

The County Fair Dance (also known as The Country Fair Dance)

At the county fair dance we was havin romance eatin and drinkin and dancin well a heated exchange is not unusual or strange but soon those ugly looks turn to ugly actions She was pretty you might say leastways we all thought so anyway though she'd never sent an army to war or certain slaughter But those flashin black eyes made two young men rise and inflict the sudden surprise of death on each other There was Porcupine Paul, he was a man feared by all He had drunk away all his money and all his reason And Fearsome Fred Ford, he was restless and he was bored He was tired of waitin for the huntin season And on the floor lay Panama Pearl, she was Fearsome Fred's girl But she didn't mind bein dragged under the table When Fred broke it up, the man he found on the top was Paul doin all that he was able (solo - in my version a slide guitar verse of Streets of Laredo) Well Fred said "Now you lookee here, you best steer yer hands off that there brassiere 'Cause we're goin to have us some shootin'" Then he's hitchin his pants and he's adoptin his machochismic stance and the crowd start to yellin and rootin Well Paul knew that he was beat if he ever got to his feet So he fired from the horizontal position Fred was hit, the dust was bit, but with an exhibition of true grit He drew his gun and accomplished his mission Well Pearl adjusted her lace, an expression of grief and horror on her face She said "it sure is grief and horror that I'm feelin" And everybody was aghast at what had come to past and the card players looked up and stopped their dealin

The Isle of Malachy

I am high upon a mountain When morning comes around it Where I was all with my love Birds fly upon the way There horses go a riding Messengers bring tidings And every day they sail away Like the sun beneath the sea Search where no ships are sailing No sound of hearts breaking Or down in deepest Africa No one will find him there But down the sands of evening In days of my love leaving You will hear the dance rise all around The Isle of Malachy Now waves of stars are breaking They lie on shores of evening They burn at my eyes dreaming Of a fire to melt the sea I will say a prayer forever I will go with light and thunder And tell each soul and stranger The tale and history Search where no ships are sailing No sound of hearts breaking Or down in deepest Africa No one will find him there But down the sands of evening In days of my love leaving You will see the fire rise all around The Isle of Malachy

Patrick Was A Wonderful Hero

Patrick was a wonderful hero in the land where man ruled by bicycle until he met with Sad Deirdre oh how he loved her buttery recesses oh how he sinned, but not against her you'd never be up to them old saints

Strokestown

Now I'm down on the heather and there's water in my shoes to river and back lane i run from you you took me to the steeple you fall on the ground your ribbon ribbon light my way home you lead me on Strokestown sitting on your four streets, your sun beat down I'm down living in a four street town And I'm passing the turnpike on my way home from school oh when we are far away now what will we do will we sleep at night when moon is out or on our horses ride like rainclouds Strokestown sitting on your four streets, your sun beat down I'm down living in a four street town Upstairs my piano play going up and down the scale downstairs they're putting on airs and i play for you oh I play for you Now I'm leaving by the back door, the fruit falls where it's sowed horseman to the manor and me to the road Strokestown sitting on your four streets, your sun beat down I'm down living in a four street town

Angel Angel

Angel on the telephone angel on the telephone say she's going to be a rolling stone she's out making trouble in the town out making trouble in the town loves that trouble where it can be found How long have I been waiting, hours I spend Footsteps on the street and never reach the end Angel angel glory glory like a flower opening slowly like a rainbow all over me angel angel glory glory Angel where you been so long angel where you been so long when you gonna bring your trouble home You reach out for something wild reach out for something wild I used to think no love could ease my mind How long have I been waiting, hours I spend Footsteps on the street and never reach the end Angel angel glory glory like a flower opening slowly like a rainbow all over me angel angel glory glory

The attic Song

Nancy she comes from Chicago to LA and home from work she drinks the wine and never minds about the menu yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah chicken and salad's fine oh fettucine is all right Nancy John he is a music man he gets home late but don't negate the guys so wise he improvise on the piano yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah bach and chopin what a thrill oh albinoni is all right Johnny Polly's such a pretty gal the valley is the place you know she never goes to buy her clothes down at the factory yeah yeah yeah yeah Rush is on the stereo oh totally, whatever Polly Then there is Jeannine who is so elegant and talented she loves to play with tennis balls it's so noisy yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah sometimes she never says a word oh but her dreams her dreams are fine Neenie Mikey is a little man with big ideas and lots of charm he tries to do his diry talking at the table yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah one day he'll be a real big man oh micheal take your time mikey fudgie he has got neurosis got no class got halitosis insect bites all down his nose it makes him nervous yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah he'd like to live inside the house oh and pee on the carpet and it would be all right fudgie spot the cat the masochist is always first to get realy pissed if you don't walk all over him he thinks it weird yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah behind those eyes there lurks a spy oh paranoia is all right spotnik Laurie is away at school she's got a new canadian man loves in a van we understand he is a film major yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah wax drips on the apartment floor oh california is all right laurie i live on the attic floor i don't know what i'm doing here but i'd just like to say hello and it's been....... real yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah